COLUMBUS — A new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reveals that Ohio lost 112,500 jobs in 2015 to countries that are a part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — the trade deal that Sen. Rob Portman voted to fast-track through Congress last year. Portman not only voted to force the TPP through Congress and blocked Congress from making any changes to it, he even bragged that he hadn’t read the agreement before voting to fast-track it.
Despite Portman’s disingenuous, election-year attempt to cover up his support for unfair trade policies, he cannot hide from his record. His attempt has drawn heavy criticism — including scathing commentary from conservative groups and outlets like Breitbart, which called Portman’s recent statement on trade a “campaign-trail equivocation,” and the CATO Institute, which blasted Portman’s statement as completely at odds with his voting record.
“This new report highlights the damaging implications of Senator Rob Portman’s support for unfair trade deals — and is another example demonstrating that Senator Portman is prioritizing the interests of the Washington power brokers he serves at the expense of Ohio’s working families,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Daniel van Hoogstraten. “In the same year that Ohio was hemorrhaging jobs to countries in the TPP, Senator Portman proudly voted to force this unfair trade deal through Congress. This is nothing new from Senator Portman – for decades in D.C., he has supported unfair trade deals that have cost hundreds of thousands of hard-working Ohioans their jobs. This is exactly why Senator Portman represents the worst of Washingt0n – he’ll say anything to help himself, but in the end, his actions hurt Ohio’s working families.”
In addition to his vote to fast-track the TPP, Portman has a long record of supporting unfair trade policies that ship jobs to places like China.
Portman called legislation to prevent Chinese currency manipulation “counter-productive.” [World Trade Review, 1/15/05]
Portman voted for eight unfair trade deals that have hurt Ohio’s economy in Congress. Ted Strickland voted against eight. [H.R. 3078, Vote 163, 10/12/11; H.R. 3079, Vote 162, 10/12/11; H.R. 3080, Vote 161, 10/12/11; H.R. 5684, Vote 392, 7/20/06; H.R. 4340, Vote 616, 12/7/05; H.R. 3045, Vote 443, 7/28/05; H.R. 4842, Vote 413, 7/22/04; H.R. 4759, Vote 375, 7/14/04; H.R. 2738, Vote 436, 7/24/03; H.R. 2739, Vote 432, 7/24/03; H.R. 3450, Vote 575, 11/17/93]
As President George W. Bush’s trade representative, Portman brought fewer enforcement actions against China than his successor, refused to take action against their currency manipulation and opposed restrictions on an unfair surge of Chinese steel imports that hurt Ohio’s steel industry. [World Trade Organization Chronological List of Dispute Cases, Accessed 11/18/15; Agence France Presse via World Trade Review, 5/13/05; Politico, 7/24/12; Federal Register, 70(152), 8/9/05]
That’s why newspapers have called Portman a “free trade disciple,” a “dedicated outsourcer” and even said Portman “never met a free-trade agreement he didn’t like.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer, Editorial, 3/18/05; CQ Today, 3/17/05; Columbus Dispatch, 7/11/10]